lionel messi
Lionel Messi scored a brace in a 3-1 victory at Sporting Gijon on WednesdayGetty

Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-1 victory at Sporting Gijon on Wednesday (18 February) to help move his side six points clear at the top of La Liga. More importantly, it took his tally at the Nou Camp to 301 goals in 334 games.

The Argentine was already the top scorer in Spanish league history, overtaking Telmo Zarra's previous record of 251 in November 2014. He now has his sights set on becoming the player with the most goals in one league across Europe. Tottenham Hotspur legend holds the English record with 357 goals, while German great Gerd Muller sits at the top with 365 goals in 427 games.

Here are some statistics behind Messi's stunning goal tally in Spain.

0.9 goals per game

The five-time Ballon d'Or scored his first goal for Barcelona at the age of 17 during a 2-0 victory over Albacete in the 2004/05 campaign. Since then he has added 300 more to his tally in a total of 334 appearances – 292 as a starter – giving him an average of 0.9 goals per game.

Atletico Madrid as his biggest victims

Many major stars have been accused of being flat-track bullies who hide in big games. Not so in Messi's case. Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and even arch-enemies Real Madrid feature among his favourite rivals. Diego Simeone's outfit are his top victims, having scored 21 goals past them in 20 La Liga outings. Messi also has 19 against Sevilla, 17 past Osasuna, 16 versus Valencia and 14 in the Real Madrid net.

Most of his goals come with his left foot

The Barcelona ace has scored 240 of his 301 goals with his left foot, 48 with his weaker foot and a further 12 with the head. He also scored one with his hand, emulating Diego Maradona's Hand of God, in a game against Espanyol in 2007. Furthermore, 39 of the goals came from the penalty spot, 15 from direct free-kicks and the other 247 in open play.

The Nou Camp is his favourite place

The 28-year-old star has scored 173 goals in 167 games at home, with 128 more coming in games away from the La Liga giant's stadium. Meanwhile, 260 of his 301 goals came from inside the area while the other 41 were from outside.

More goals than Cristiano Ronaldo - but a worse ratio

The Argentina international has been the top scorer in La Liga since since November 2014, when he beat the previous record of 251 goals (in 277 appearances) set by Athletic Bilbao legend Zarra.

Where is Ronaldo? The Manchester United icon is not too far away from Messi's tally, and actually has a better ratio. The Portugal star is third top-scorer in La Liga's books, netting 246 goals in 224 games, an average of almost 1.1 a game. However, Ronaldo arrived at Real Madrid in the peak of his career, while Messi came through Barcelona's youth ranks and was not considered a regular goalscorer in his debut seasons.

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